S. Korean defense chief vows to exercise self-defense right if attacked by DPRK

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South Korea's new defense minister said Monday the military will exercise the right of self-defense if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launches an attack again, Yonhap news agency reported.

Kim Kwan-jin, who recently took office after his predecessor stepped down to shoulder responsibility for a series of perceived military blunders, told a press conference that he ordered the military to invoke the right of self-defense in case of provocation by the DPRK.

The existing principles of the rules of engagement do not apply to the right of self-defense, Kim said, referring to the current rules that dictate South Korean forces respond "proportionately" to an enemy attack with the same kind of weapons the enemy uses.

The military is currently looking to revise the battle rules to give more elbow room to South Korean soldiers confronted with an enemy attack, following the fatal exchange of artillery fire between the two Koreas on Nov. 23 near a disputed western maritime border.

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